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This article was published 15/12/2015 (1532 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Nigel Dixon was gunned down for no reason – the victim of a chilling attack that occurred in broad daylight in a busy residential neighbourhood.
Now the Winnipeg teen gang member who fired five shots into his back has admitted responsibility.
The 20-year-old man, who can’t be named because he was 17 at the time of the April 2013 slaying, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to second-degree murder. The Crown said they intend to seek an adult penalty against the accused when they return next spring for sentencing.
"At a very young age he has murdered someone. In some ways that factor, in and of itself, is utterly in explicable," Queen’s Bench Justice Colleen Suche said after hearing a brief account of the facts. She ordered a forensic report into the young killer to examine whether he has any existing mental health or developmental issues.
Dixon, 20, was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, court was told.
He and several friends were walking down Langside Street near Ellice Avenue around 4 p.m. when they crossed paths with up to eight members of the Mad Cowz street gang who been smoking marijuana. One of the gang members instructed others to do a "G-check" in Dixon’s group – street slang for asking what gang they were linked to.
"Who you reppin’? one of the gang members asked. "No one. We’re from the rez," one of Dixon’s female friends replied.
That seemingly ended any tension, as the gang members turned to walk away.
"It was clear to the Mad Cowz group the victim’s group were not gang members," Crown attorney Mike Desautels said Tuesday.
But suddenly, the 17-year-old Mad Cowz member doubled back and pulled a camouflaged 9 mm handgun equipped with a silencer from out of his waist band — even as members of his own gang pleaded with him not to. He fired five shots at Dixon’s group.
Five bullets went right into Dixon’s back, killing him almost instantly. Two of those shots actually exited his body and hit the girl in front of him, the one who had replied to the Mad Cowz question. She suffered serious injuries but survived.
The teen killer yelled "guppies" at the group as he fired, which court heard is a slang term used for members of the Manitoba Warriors street gang.
He fled the scene and wasn’t arrested for several months after being located in British Columbia. At one point during the search, police obtained a court-ordered exemption under the Youth Criminal Justice Act at allowing them to release the teen’s name and photo because of public safety concerns. His own mother even issued a plea for him to turn himself in.
She told the Free Press her son had been living a transient lifestyle since joining a gang about two years earlier.
"Two and a half years ago he was a sweet, kind little boy," she said. "But he's basically been on the run for a couple years."
More details about the killer’s background will be presented at his sentencing hearing, which is set for May 30. The Crown said Tuesday they had a solid case against the youth, thanks largely to co-operation from three fellow Mad Cowz members who were at the scene that day and gave statements implicating him. Without those, the Crown likely would have been in tough proving its case.
Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream fizzled, he put all his brawn into becoming a professional writer.